24 Jan 2020, 15:13 — 4 min read
Sangeeta Agarwal’s export journey is all about identifying business opportunities and then going all out to make it a reality—undeterred by geographic boundaries. In 1988 she expanded her family’s diamond and precious stones export business to Japan and other Asian countries. Her keen design and marketing exposure then led her to establish Countertops & Cabinets (India) Pvt Ltd with a state-of-the-art furniture manufacturing unit in Jaipur, operating as a 100% export oriented unit (EOU). She exports furniture primarily to the United States of America and is even developing a manufacturing and warehousing facility there.
Sangeeta Agarwal shares her business journey in conversation with GlobalLinker (GL).
GL: How did you foray into furniture exports?
Sangeeta: My passion for designing led to several interior projects, which brought lot of reference business across USA. I felt it necessary to start a professional designing studio cum manufacturing facility and formed Countertops & Cabinets (India) Pvt Ltd in Jaipur. I have a sales and marketing office in the United States. We are developing a furniture manufacturing and warehouse facility in Metro Atlanta. This enables us to cut down the months-long delivery and import process.
Also read: Shweta Khandelwal, Founder, Matru Ayurveda
GL: What is your business USP?
Sangeeta: Unlike other manufacturers, we boast of 20 years free replacement for manufacturing defects to our customers in the US. We follow a 100% reference business model and spend no revenue on advertising.
Traditional furniture if given a flavour of design and creativity becomes a bestseller. I have identified a unique furniture product range made of wood, stone, metal and this has been a winning formula.
GL: How did you identify export products and markets?
Sangeeta: Traditional furniture if given a flavour of design and creativity becomes a bestseller. I have identified a unique furniture product range made of wood, stone, metal and this has been a winning formula. After working with various countries, we now focus on the US market, where there is due appreciation for deserving people and products.
FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations) has always been a source of valuable information and industry updates. FIEO magazine offers inspiration by featuring articles of senior and successful entrepreneurs.
GL: What challenges do you face?
Sangeeta: To motivate and train our Indian labourers to adapt, understand and accept the international quality standards is challenging. Also, pricing was a challenge initially when customers could not value the intricate products. But now we have built our reputation by worth of mouth referrals and price is a secondary consideration.
GL: What are your tips to maintain a competitive advantage?
Sangeeta: Changing your product design as per market trend, is the main principal for market expansion. Check your purchase prices constantly to stay competitive. Rigorous follow up is required to finalise contracts. Good after sales service is necessary for further references.
Also read: Woman exporter puts ceramic tiles from Gujarat on the global map
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